Unexpected Learning

In the course of their careers, actors get to experience a wonderfully eclectic range of characters and human behaviors.  We investigate the way people think and act, and have the often-daunting task of giving life to a character who seems light years away from our own understanding and experience of life. Continue reading “Unexpected Learning”

As You Like It – a daily rehearsal and performance log on Tumblr

An image a day and a tweet or quote a day to sum up the passage of the next 10 weeks as I rehearse and perform in La Boite Theatre Company’s production of As You Like It by William Shakespeare. I get to play Duke Senior, father to Rosalind. This should be fun and a huge challenge – the best kind! Words probably won’t do it justice, so maybe an image or something brief and to the point that sums up the moment … Twitter is just fine for that. Continue reading “As You Like It – a daily rehearsal and performance log on Tumblr”

Notes on the freelance life: voice work

Go Right
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

Yesterday was hardly typical, and it was memorable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I had three freelance jobs that took me cross-town a couple of times through pouring rain and crazy traffic; Brisbane doesn’t respond well to the wet. The second was a confirmation (if I needed it) at day’s end that the business of voice and acting is not nearly as complicated as so many would have it. The workshop I did with a group of Year 12 Drama students at 8.30 that morning paralleled the voice-coaching work I did with a Hollywood actor later that afternoon. Both sessions came down to getting the whole body involved in realising thought and then connecting – fully and truthfully – on breath and through word … what else is there?

The other job yesterday was a screen test for a television commercial. Somewhere around lunchtime I found myself sitting in one of those hired waiting rooms in the suburbs with a whole lot of other hopefuls. I was reminded again as we sat there how important relaxation is to the business of auditioning – the least fair part of acting, as someone once said. Watching that room of actors was an object lesson in itself; some worked their phones, others listened to music, some stared into the middle distance. The tension was palpable.

My take on all this … I really believe that relaxation is almost impossible unless the actor possesses the mental freedom that comes from confidence. Confidence in turn, comes from knowing you are as prepared as you can be. Where that comes from takes us back to basics – realising thought and connecting, fully and truthfully on breath and through word – having the craft skills or a process to work from.

Still waiting for the results of the screen test … as always, no point in deliberating … moving right along. It was a chance to perform, to network, to extend experience in the business … the job would be bonus.

Quote of the Day: on the actor’s preparation

Read the whole article from Andrew Utter at the Mother of Invention Acting School blog.  The post is a review of a new book on acting by Howard Fine: Fine on Acting – A Vision of the Craft.

* “Your central responsibility as actors is to affect and to be affected by, that is your job.  You must affect someone else, and you must be affected by them.  Any choices you make that disallow that exchange have taken you down a dead-end.”

* “You must have a body that is responsive to you, that is flexible, and you must start to develop yourself physically to be a great actor.  All forms of dance training, martial arts, yoga and especially the Alexander Teachnique are excellent.”

* “The first common mistake that will lead you down a very bad path is judging the character.”

* “Writers are not writing about someone’s mundane life.  They’re writing about the important moments.  When you look at a scene and you don’t see the crisis that character is in, you have taken out what is actable in the scene.”

* “So much is made of the differences between stage acting and television and film acting.  I like to say to my students,  “Would you study the violin for film? Would you learn how to play football for television?”  Of course not, that would be ludicrous.  You learn how to play the violin.  You learn how to play football. You learn how to act.  You learn the craft itself.

* “The goal of preparation is spontaneous life.”

* “A developed mind is part of what will become your range as an actor, which means you have to develop your intellect formally through education, or you have to find a way to do it on your own.  How will you understand what’s going on in a scene, if you have not developed your ability to think?”

Lines-learning just got cooler: another tool for iPhone toting actors


I’m not all that keen on the name of this handy little iPhone app: ‘Hollywood Helper – Broadway Buddy’ – yuk!   ‘Lines Coach’ is plain, but it might well have served for an application that helps you to learn lines without your script, and which also understands how most actors work with pencil and paper.  HH/BB also takes a familar approach to lines-learning as action through intention. Despite my quibbles on the name, I like it very much and suspect that an acting coach worked with the developers to bring it to the iPhone.  The nice people who make this little iPhone app thought I might like to take it for a spin, and so I did. Here’s my take on it, with a recommendation. Continue reading “Lines-learning just got cooler: another tool for iPhone toting actors”